Monday, April 16, 2018

Abortion Abolitionist running for Oklahoma Governor

Former pastor and person from state legislature, Dan Fisher, is running to be governor of Oklahoma. He is a conservative and believes that the option to abolish abortion should be decided by the states, and not the supreme court because they do not have the "constitutional authority" to do so. He also believes that there is a difference between pro-life and abolitionists, based on his work in the state legislature. He goes on to comparing it to abolishing slavery in the 1850's. He criticizes how being anti-slavery and pro-life are people who are too lazy to act upon their beliefs and morals whereas abolitionists fight for their cause and what they believe in. Back to him being against abortions, he believes that " the overwhelming majority of abortions are performed for one and only one reason: convenience." I think, after reading the article, that Dan Fisher constantly contradicts himself, and uses evidence that isn't very relevant to the situation. An example would be when he says the supreme court doesn't have the constitutional authority to make abortions legal in all states because the whole purpose of the supreme court is to determine whether or not something is abides by the constitution. The other example would be arguing the abortions and slavery are two completely different things, one being more extreme than the other. I think, if anything, the abortion laws in Oklahoma should be less restricted due to them having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the whole country, and by having it less regulated, then perhaps teen pregnancy will drop in that state. What do you think of this situation? Should abortion be abolished in some states due to the majority of the population being pro-life, or should abortions be less restricted to lower pregnancy rates amongst the youth and others? Do you think Dan Fisher, if he becomes the governor of Oklahoma, cause the legislature to change their policies on abortion?
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Black teen who wanted directions shot at by white man

Image result for boy shot in oakland ca for knocking on door

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Recently, a 14 year old black male, Brennan Walker, woke up late and missed his bus for school. Without a cell phone, he attempted to get to school by asking for directions so he could walk. However, after knocking on a door, a white female began to yell at Walker questioning him on why he was trying to break into her home. Despite trying to explain to her that he only needed directions, the women's husband came downstairs after hearing the commotion and pulled out a gun. When seeing the gun in hand, Walker began to run before hearing a gunshot. Although Ziegler missed, Walker claims he was just happy he "did not become another statistic." We can clearly see this is another instance of racial profiling. Children, or anyone for that matter, should fear for there lives when doing something as simple as asking for directions. The woman was wrong for assuming he was trying to break in despite knocking. Should the woman also face charges for false accusations along with her husband? How else do we see racial profiling today and in our communities?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Starbucks C.E.O. Apologizes After Arrests of 2 Black Men

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This past week 2 black men were arrested from a Starbucks in Philadelphia after an employee called 911. The employee allegedly called 911 because they had not purchased anything and they had refused to leave the store, which prompted her to call 911. Many were outraged on social media and Starbucks later issued a statement to social media, stating that they "firmly stand against discrimination or racial profiling", yet the hash tag #boycottstarbucks still continued to trend on twitter.  After, something that is viewed as unjust happens, many are prompted to advocate for change. In the case of Rosa Parks, people began to boycott the buses in Montgomery as a form of protest in order to bring change. Do you think calling 911 was a reasonable reaction? Do you believe that protests have the power to incite change? After a company apologizes for something, do you think it is still necessary to encourage a boycott? In our society today, do you think that social media is an important tool which can be used to inspire change?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mark Zuckerberg Testimony: Senators Question Facebook’s Commitment to Privacy

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Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO of Facebook, was questioned in front of senators on Tuesday in regards to the harvesting of data of 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 election. Unfortunately, Facebook did not inform users of this abuse of data from 2015 until just recently. Mark Zuckerberg has taken responsibility for not being able to protect Facebook users' information and has vowed to do better. I believe that Facebook has such a great responsibility in keeping all of its users' personal data safe from abuse and manipulation from third-party app developers since there are at least 2 billion monthly users. Cambridge Analytica's objective to use personal data "to psychologically profile voters during the 2016 election" and being linked with the Trump Campaign is similar to the events of the Watergate scandal in which 5 burglars were arrested for stealing documents and information at the Democratic Party Headquarters. I think these two events are similar because one party is trying to find out information of the other party before an election. Do you think social media companies should prioritize privacy of their users? Do you believe Zuckerberg and Facebook are going to take better action to prevent abuse of data?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Trump to Decide Soon Whether to Retaliate for ‘Barbaric Act’ in Syria

Over the weekend, chemical weapons were used in a deadly attack that killed dozens in Damascus, the capital of Syria. Trump is putting his foot down, claiming that any country involved in these attacks, whether it be Russia, Syria, or Iran (all countries currently with military powers stationed in Syria), will “pay a price” for the continuing to enable or support these heinous actions. It appears as though he is going to call for an airstrike against Syria to take place as early as Tuesday. However, this places Trump in a strained position, as the Russian military is currently placed in Syria is backing the current President that is in office, however; any action taken to strike them down would lead to some sort of falling out in the relationship Trump is vying to establish between he and Putin. There is as well concern whether or not an airstrike would be effective or not, in terms of preventing some attack like this from occurring again. His language regarding the situation seems very blunt and forceful, mostly centering on the fact that any of those involved with the attack will be punished by some sort of forceful degree. My hope is that Trump handles this situation in a very diplomatic fashion, and look at all of the cards that are laid out on the table, rather than rushing in and making a hasty, and possibly, costly decision. This idea of military involvement plays into the role of America in foreign relations, specifically in wartime instances, much like the Vietnam War. During this time, it was argued that there was no direct necessity to intervene, however; the government was decided to act anyway, in order to bring down a power that they saw as a direct threat: the Communists. The Syrian regime acts as the Communist supporters and backers in this specific instance. Is it wise for Trump to call for any military actions to be taken? If so, why? If not, what alternative actions/decisions can/should be taken?

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Monday, April 9, 2018

50 years since his death, Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophical work is all but forgotten

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Last week, on the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, the world commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many of King's admirers, however, are ignorant of the entirety of Dr. King's mission, having heard only snippets of his "I Have a Dream" speech and perhaps the final words of his "Mountaintop" speech. These select few representations of King's legacy are no doubt powerful, but fail to convey critical aspects of Dr. King. Not very many people understand the extent to which King criticized the government and pushed for the government to significantly help the poor. Nor do they know that he was vehemently opposed to the Vietnam War. Dr. King has been sugarcoated, his radical beliefs silenced in favor of his feel-good lines. This holds true in the broader context of other martyrs and heroes as well. Too often, people are idealized to the extent that controversial or disagreeable aspects of them are suppressed and their humanity is lost.

In order to fully appreciate Dr. King, we need to understand everything he stood for. We need to embrace his flaws. We can't hide behind a couple of his words, broadcasting those to the world in order to make it look like we've fulfilled his dream.

What is the danger of oversimplifying people that we admire? What can be done to prevent this?

This new lynching memorial rewrites American history

06 Equal Justice Initiative memorial RESTRICTED

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Montgomery Alabama, which was once known as the most racist city in America, has opened a new memorial honoring men, women, and children who were enslaved and lynched through out America's history. It captures the brutality and the scale of lynching through out the South. One of the researchers who was a part of creating this monument states, "We want people to see the pain. We want them to see the suffering. We want them to see the anguish. But we also want them to see the humanity, and the strength, and the dignity and the capacity to endure." Not only were the names of 4,400 victims of racial terror lynchings engraved throughout 800 six-foot-tall monuments, but there are also graphic and detailed sculptures of enslaved black people with chains around their necks. I think it is very important to show these parts of America's history that we tend to shed our eyes from. Also, to spread the stories of African Americans who haven't had a voice for hundreds of years. Why Confederate generals have streets, schools, and counties named after them is utterly disgusting when it is impossible to name one lynching victim? Do you guys think that that it is important to show these parts of America's history?  And should there be more monuments like this around the nation?

F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen; Trump Calls It ‘Disgraceful’

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Just this morning, on April 9, 2018, FBI agents raided Trump's lawyer, Michael D. Cohen's home and office. This provoked an angry response from President Trump, who called the raid part of a "witch hunt" and an "attack on our country." This raid comes at a time when several of Trump's other associates are also under Justice Department scrutiny. While aggressive, this raid has been approved by a federal judge and several officials from the Justice Department, who suspect criminal activity. Per the New York Times, the raid did not appear to be directly connected with the FBI investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the last presidential election. Rather, Cohen is suspected of other shady dealings, most notably allegedly paying a porn actress to silence a sexual encounter Trump had with her. I think that since the FBI had good reason to obtain a search warrant for the raid, Trump's comments seem hyperbolic, and the FBI was just doing its job. Rather than being an attack on the entire country as Trump claims, the FBI's raid is a legitimate inquiry into the business practices of Trump's lawyer. I personally believe Trump's denouncement of the FBI's investigations amounts to a denouncement of justice. While there have been several instances of the FBI conducting extensive searches of potential criminals, such as during the first Red Scare of the 1920s, I am unsure of any moment in the history of the USA when the FBI has turned its back against the president and his associates. Do you think Trump was right to call the FBI investigations a witch hunt? What do you think will be revealed after the raid on Cohen? What kind of implications does this FBI raid on Cohen have on the future of Trump's presidency?

Orban Wins Sweeping Majority, and Control of Hungary’s Constitution

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Hungary has finally fallen from a flourishing democracy to a more autocratic state since the nationalistic Fidesz party has gained the majority in Parliament after the election this past Sunday. Now the current PM, Viktor Orbán, has been in power since 2010 and served a 4 year term before that. Orbán has great influence over Hungarians due to his strong nationalism and ability to inculcate racist ideas in the minds of the masses in order to avoid a " multicolored country." He is outspoken about his opposition to immigration in his country especially after the influx of refugees into Europe in recent years, so it is frightening to see that he has the power to change the Constitution in a way that would close immigration in the country. Additionally, the party now has the power to amend the Constitution to suppress press and freedom of speech. The Fidesz's rise to power is extremely worrying especially due to the threat it poses to the civil liberties of Hungarians. Hungary is bound to turn out to become more like Russia and it seems as if the nation is reverting back to its Soviet tendencies during the Cold War. In the extreme, Hungary can potentially be Nazi Germany because of the Fidesz party and their strong nationalistic/nativist sentiments. What do you think will happen to Hungary? Can this one party majority be helpful? Will neighboring autocratic nations such as Russia and Turkey team up with Turkey in the future to make another Soviet bloc? 

North Korea Said to Offer Direct Assurance It Will Discuss Denuclearization

President Trump and North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un have agreed to meet to talk over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Not many details have been disclosed to the public about where this meeting is going to take place. This would be a very rare attempt at hopefully making peaceful amends with another nation. What do you think will occur in this meeting? what do yo hope is discussed between the nations leaders? let me know below.
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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Syria war: Trump condemns Syria for 'chemical attack' on Douma

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The civil war in Syria feels like it will never end, and a chemical attack on Saturday only increases that feeling of hopelessness in the country. This past Saturday, the Syrian government attacked the rebel-held city of Douma with airstrikes as well as a possible chemical attack. While Syria and its allies, Iran and Russia, deny any use of chemical agents, there is more and more evidence pointing towards the use of chemicals weapons in this attack. In response to this violent action, Donald Trump sent out a series of tweets blasting Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, for the attack, and while I agree with Trump's anger over the attack, I hope that the US government will choose a more diplomatic approach in responding to the violence. In April 2017, after more than 80 people were killed by the Syrian government, Trump and the military responded with a missile attack on a Syrian airbase. This time, rather than firing missiles into Syria, I hope that the US will be more strategic and diplomatic in their response to the chemical attack in Douma. What do you think the US should do? Should we fire more missiles into Syria like we did in April 2017? Should the UN get more involved in the civil war in Syria? Is there another approach to ending the civil war that the US should consider taking?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Parkland Students Find Themselves Targets of Lies and Personal Attacks

I'm sure all of us have experienced the effects of the Parkland shooting by now. The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have organized international walkouts and marches demanding gun control to save the lives of children. While some may disagree with stricter gun control I find it disgusting that certain conservatives are accusing the students of being actors or insulting them personally. A republican candidate for congress from dropped out of the race after receiving extreme backlash after his awful remarks calling Emma Gonzalez a "skinhead lesbian". I personally find all attacks on these students cruel and inexcusable as they are fighting for their lives after witnessing their fellow students being killed. I'm wondering what your opinions are on the matter and how we can stop these attacks from continuing.